Many people get urinary tract infections (UTI) at some point in their lives. While UTIs are more common in women they can occur in children and men too. A urinary tract infection can affect any part of the urinary system that is, the kidneys, bladder, urethra, and ureters. The most common symptoms of a UTI are frequent urge to pee, a burning sensation when using the washroom, bad odour in your pee, blood in the urine or abdominal pressure.
Women are at a higher risk of contracting a UTI because they have a shorter urethra. UTIs can result in recurrent infections, permanent kidney damage and sometimes sepsis leading to death.
Here are ways to prevent UTIs.
- Empty your bladder often
Holding in pee for long creates an environment that aids in the growth of bacteria. Empty your bladder frequently at least every 3 to 4 hours. Additionally, ensure that you empty the bladder completely.
For pregnant women, the risk of contracting a UTI is higher so they especially need to empty the bladder frequently. Holding in urine for pregnant women could increase the risk.
- Urinate before and after sexual intercourse
Due to the structure of the female anatomy, it’s easier for bacteria to get into the urethra during sex. It’s therefore advisable to urinate before and after sex in order to flush out the bacteria that result in urinary tract infections. If possible clean before and after sex to reduce the risk of bacteria getting to the urethra.
- Change your birth control
Birth control methods such as spermicides and diaphragms could also increase the risk of contracting a UTI. Such methods aid in the growth of bacteria. For women who get UTIs all the time it is important to rethink such family planning methods.
- Stay hydrated
Drinking lots of water and fluids fill the bladder faster. In turn, you empty the bladder more frequently which flushes out bacteria too. Lifestyle & Health: The Benefits of Staying Hydrated
- Wipe from front to back after using the washroom
E.coli is bacteria found in the rectum and can cause an infection if it gets to the urethra. Wiping from the back to front after using a washroom can increase this risk. To prevent UTIs one should wipe from the front to the back.
Probiotics have good bacteria that could promote the growth of good bacteria in the urinary tract too. You can get probiotics from yoghurt and other fermented foods or from probiotic supplements. Consuming probiotics can help prevent UTIs.
- Avoid scented products
The vagina already has beneficial bacteria which ensure it remains healthy. However, the use of vaginal products such as douches, scented powders, pads or tampons as well as showering products which cause irritation disrupting the balance. In turn, this promotes the growth of bad bacteria leading to infections like UTIs or even yeast infections.
- Wear the right underwear
It‘s advisable to wear cotton underwear because it doesn’t retain moisture. Additionally, one should avoid extremely tight pants. These help in preventing a thriving environment for bad bacteria. Here are some Do’s And Don’ts For A Healthy Vagina
Consuming cranberries and cranberry juice is a traditional home remedy for preventing UTIs. Cranberries contain compounds that prevent E.coli from adhering to tissues in the urethra. The berries also have vitamin C which increases acidity in the urine so the environment is not conducive for the growth of bad bacteria.